Every day, countless individuals and couples dealing with infertility or undergoing fertility treatments do so in silence and often feel alone in their struggle; speaking out about their experience can be difficult or even painful. Many people who have never experienced infertility take it for granted and don’t recognize the wide range of complex and challenging emotions that fertility patients go through. These emotions – despair, inadequacy, grief, depression, loss – can be exceedingly difficult feelings to communicate.
It doesn’t help that people with infertility often face a barrage of unintentionally insensitive questions and comments from family members and friends. Although friends and family have the best of intentions, their knowledge of infertility and assisted reproduction is often limited by what they’ve seen on TV or social media.
In 1989, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association founded the first-ever National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). Taking place every year in April, the NIAW movement draws back the curtain to reveal the truth about infertility, educating people about all aspects of the infertility experience and encouraging infertile people to raise their voices and share their stories. Not only does NIAW allow infertile couples and individuals to connect to a global community of people who share their experiences, but it also helps to change the overall conversation that we as a society have about infertility and reproductive health.
Getting involved with NIAW can be an empowering experience for both infertile individuals and allies alike. Here are a few ways that you can be an advocate during NIAW.
Organize a Fundraiser
Fundraising plays an important role in spreading awareness and education about infertility. This year, RESOLVE has several suggestions on how you can prepare a virtual fundraiser. Some ideas include:
- Organizing a virtual fundraising event, such as a Netflix watch party, fort-building competition, costume party, karaoke night, or sip-and-sew classes
- Participating in a virtual Walk of Hope
- Sharing a fundraiser on your Facebook page
Whether you prefer Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or any other platform, social media is a great way to spread information about infertility or share your story. This year, consider participating in the NIAW 5 Day Challenge.
- Wednesday, 4/21 – Using the hashtag #WearOrange, share a picture of yourself wearing orange to create a wave of orange crashing across all social media platforms
- Thursday, 4/22 – Using the hashtag #WhatIWantYoutoKnow, share with the world what you wish other people knew about what infertility is really like
- Friday, 4/23 – Using the hashtag #RESOLVEStrong, show that you stand strong for the infertility community
No matter how you choose to participate during NIAW, what’s important is that we all keep striving to change the conversation about infertility every day of the year.